Introduction to Traditions and Ceremonies
About Tsog Offerings
When attending a tsog, each practitioner must bring an offering to be included on the shrine. Remember that the food we bring is an offering for the Buddhas and Bodhisattva, not for us! Therefore, it is not like a pot-luck. You should select the finest quality foods – as if you were expecting a very important guest – and not necessarily food that you like. When you go to the store to purchase tsog food, be free from a mind of partiality and be sure you are buying (or making) the offerings with a pure motivation (not thinking about how much money you are spending!).
Tantric Tsog feasts always include meat and alcohol (traditionally forbidden foods). In this context, these are precious samaya substances that have been transformed through mantra, mudra and the practitioner’s samadhi. If you are a vegetarian and have negative conceptual thoughts about eating the meat (or the alcohol) during the tsog, then all blessings for you have been lost.
At the end of the offering ceremony, the remaining food is distributed to the Sangha and some can be taken home and given to friends and family as a blessing. Please do not throw Tsog food in the trash. If needed, offer it to your local wildlife.